Coffee: Turkish? Greek? or Arabic?

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As a certified coffee /kahve lover I can’t believe I have not written about this topic before. As I sip my Turkish kahve this morning, I decided to finally share my love and also explain for everyone what’s what about this coffee.

First of all, the type of coffee we are talking about here is a small cup (little larger than expresso) of roasted coffee . It certainly can give you a nice jolt. Sooo… where did this coffee tradition come from? This is a hotly debated topic – really – especially across Europe, and Middle East. Why debated? Such a great cup of coffee that everyone wants to claim it as theirs!

If you are traveling in Greece – don’t dare to call it Turkish or Arabic coffee, they will promptly correct you with ‘huh, what? we don’t have that, would you like Greek coffee?’. If you are traveling in Turkey, not advisable to call it Greek coffee either. So whatever country you are at calling it as theirs will get you a coffee you will be pleased with. Unless you want to anger the waitstaff and drink a bit of spit or who knows what in your cup!

So where do the Arabs come into this picture??? Well they have been making and drinking this wonderful coffee too. Hence they have a claim as well.

Ok so let’s cut to the chase: it is originated in Yemen – during the Ottoman Empire era Turks adapted it around 1640, and made it what is today. And what you get in all other regions and countries are different variations and flavors of the same thing. I love all of them! except for the sweet kind, could be way too sweet for my palate.

Read the full history… (at Wikipedia)

This coffee has infused into the cultures and has become part of the daily rhythm. This is what I love about it – it is not just an occasional thing. Hard to explain unless you grew up on grandmas laps who sipped this coffee while they entertained guest and chatted away life, worries, love, children, money, and all kinds of neighborly gossip. Some of you no doubt know what I am talking about.

This is not a coffee for the faint hearted, it is strong depending on the how roasted it is and how much is used in making it. It is an acquired taste. I prefer to drink it without sugar, and rarely ‘medium’ meaning with a tiny amount of sugar. Some people also are able to read the leftover coffee granules as in fortune telling – it is really a fun thing. Similar to reading tea leaves… Had it done couple times, was fun full of speculation and some things were actually semi true Oooooo!

So next time you are traveling through any of these lands… order one and enjoy it!!

I leave you with the delicious visual of Turkish coffee presented with foam (the way I like it) at Kahve Dunyasi coffee shop in Turkey:
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Share your Kahve moment or picture with us – tell us how you enjoy your cup!

Note: both photos displayed here are taken by surprisesaffron (c). please drop us a note if you want to use them.

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Halka ‘Open Sesame’ Cookies

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Wanted to introduce this simple cookie to you. I had it for the first time when I was visiting family in Istanbul last week.

The origin of the cookie is from Syria and this maybe an adaptation, since I never had the original I cannot tell. It is light and delicious with coffee or tea. Very used to seeing sesame used in savory cooking and baking, and this is great use of sesame in baking sweets.

Ingredients:

  • 3 organic eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 cup roasted sesame
  • 1 cup fine semolina
  • 1 packet of vanilla powder (dr.oetker)
  • 1 packet of baking powder (dr.oetker)
  • flour – use as much as it takes to attain earlobe firm dough

Step 1:
Dry roasting the unshelled sesame: you can also use shelled ones if you like, but process stays the same. Roast till you smell the sesame (barely 2 minutes or more depending on your stove) – then set aside to cool.
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Step 2:
Mix the egg and sugar – whisk well.
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Step 3:
Add the semolina, vanilla, the baking powder, and mix well.
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Next add the sesame and mix it well. Then start adding the flour slowly and keep checking for firmness. It should not be firmer than your earlobe; stop adding flour when you reach that point.
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This is what the dough looks like when everything is done:
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Step 4:
Heat the oven to 400 degrees. Line the baking sheets. Start forming little circles ‘halka’ and place then on the baking sheets. You can make them large small or any size you like. Optional: brush the tops with eggwash. We did for most but tried a few without and they were just as good. Bake until golden in color; take out and let cool before serving.
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Hope you enjoy this delicious sesame cookie as much as we do!
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